Comment Period for USDA’s IFR on Hemp Closes Oct. 8
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Comment Period for USDA’s IFR on Hemp Closes Oct. 8

It’s the last call for industry participants to air their grievances on the USDA’s proposed hemp regulations.

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October 8, 2020

For those who still have feedback to give the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its interim final rule (IFR) on hemp, today is the last day to do so.

The USDA announced last month that it would reopen its public comment period on the proposed rules until Oct. 8. 

In a notice on the USDA’s website, the agency noted it is seeking comments on:

  • Measurement of uncertainty for sampling

  • Liquid chromatography factor, 0.877

  • Disposal and remediation of non-compliant plants

  • Negligence

  • Interstate commerce

  • 15-day harvest window

  • Hemp seedlings, microgreens, and clones

  • Hemp breeding and research

  • Sampling methodology – flower vs. whole plant

  • Sampling methodology – homogeneous composition, frequency and volume

  • Sampling agents

  • U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) laboratory registration

The reopened docket had garnered 925 comments by the beginning of the day Oct. 8. That’s in addition to the nearly 4,700 comments received during the initial comment period.  

Many comments have proposed amendments to what the agency said it was seeking feedback on, including upping the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) negligent threshold from 0.5%, increasing the harvest window to 30 days, exempting hemp seedlings and clones from testing requirements and removing the DEA testing lab requirement.

Many have also suggested increasing the 0.3% THC limit to 1%--an amendment that would require the approval of Congress to change.

One heavily requested change that is close to coming to fruition is delaying implementation of the IFR until 2021 and allowing states to continue operating under their pilot programs for one more year. While the IFR is supposed to take effect at the end of this month, Congress has approved an extension of hemp pilot programs through September of 2021. The bill now awaits final approval from the president.

Those who want to comment can do so on the Federal Register website.